Annabel Guthrie

ACU recognises that significant, transformative learning can often take place outside the classroom.

The Action, Learning and Reflection in the Gap Year unit is now available to all students, allowing them to integrate social justice actions, learning, and reflection in the context of a gap year-style community engagement placement, either locally or overseas.

annabel guthrieAnnabel Guthrie with children in East Timor

Students undertaking this unit will complete a three to 12-month placement with a community agency.

Annabel Guthrie was one of six exercise science students from ACU who helped implement a community soccer program in East Timor as part of her degree.

The Melbourne student spent a month in Baucau for the Future in Youth project - teaching leadership, health, and life skills to more than 400 children and young people through soccer.

“We taught an orientation and education program to the young coaches, and a sports education program for the kids – which they absolutely love soccer,” Annabel said.

“There is nearly 100 per cent youth unemployment in the Baucau region, so by developing sports programs we aimed to give them something to look forward to, something to be engaged in, and a sense of belonging.

“I loved my time in East Timor and as well as counting towards my course mark, it really put my life in perspective. In Australia we take not only organised sport for granted, but basics such as fresh food, clean water, education and healthcare.”

For more information please contact ACU’s Institute for Advancing Community Engagement (IACE) on (02) 9701 4346 or